Tenants Win Human Rights Claim in Europe


A landmark judgment of the European Court means that social landlords will have to consider any potential possession proceedings in light of the Human Rights Act. This applies whether or not the tenant has a secure tenancy. The case was brought by eight short-life tenants, after Lambeth Borough Council had sought possession of their homes.
One of the tenants, Gavin Kay, had lived in his home for more than ten years. He had previously brought a case to court but was unsuccessful. The European Court, however, determined that the loss of a person’s home was the most extreme form of interference with the Article 8 right to respect an individual’s home. The court found that the right of possession had to be balanced against an individual’s rights under Article 8, despite the fact that the domestic courts had determined that the right to occupy the property had come to an end.
The European Court also decided that each of the tenants had suffered feelings of frustration and injustice, and awarded each of them Euro 2,000 in compensation. This judgment is likely to have substantial implications for social landlords, who must now take the Convention rights of their tenants into consideration when deciding whether to seek possession proceedings.

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